Whether acting as a bicyclist or a motorcyclist, if you are hit by a motor vehicle, the results are likely going to be catastrophic. After sustaining multiple injuries, receiving treatment in a hospital, and filing a report with the police, you may be wondering what comes next, and when your insurance (or the insurance of the at-fault driver) will pay up. If you weren’t wearing a helmet at the time of the crash, you may also be wondering whether or not your lack of helmet will affect your ability to recover compensation. Here is what you need to know–
When a person violates a statute, and this violation is also unreasonable or unsafe, they commit an act of negligence per se (an act that is unreasonable and unsafe, but that does not violate a statute or law, is simply negligent).
While many states have helmet laws – and therefore the lack of a helmet would constitute negligence per se – Illinois is not one of them. In fact, Illinois has no motorcycle helmet law at all, even for young riders, and no state bicycle helmet law (although certain areas of the state have passed their own helmet laws). As such, you cannot be found guilty of negligence per se.
While you won’t be found guilty of negligence per se because there is no mandatory helmet law, you could be found negligent for your failure to wear a helmet. This is because it is common knowledge that a helmet protects the head and brain and reduces the risk of injury, and therefore not wearing one could be considered unreasonable and irresponsible. If you suffered a head injury in your bicycle or motorcycle crash, the defendant or insurance adjuster may argue that you are partially to blame for your head injury. If you suffered a different injury type, such as a broken leg, it would be nearly impossible to argue that the use of a helmet would have in any way affected this.
If you are found to be partially negligent for your head injury, compensation for that specific part of your injury (pain and suffering, medical bills related to the head injury, etc.) may be reduced. Per the state’s comparative fault laws, your damages can be reduced in proportion to your degree of fault.
If you have suffered a head injury in a crash and you were not wearing a helmet – or even if you were – it is within your best interest to work with an attorney who will advocate for you and will do everything possible to show that your injuries would have happened regardless of your own actions. At Arami Law, we have the legal team you are looking for. Contact us today at (312) 212-1397 to learn more.
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